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Belfast Days: A 1972 Teenage Diary
Belfast Days: A 1972 Teenage Diary
by Eimear O'Callaghan
Edition: Paperback
Price: £13.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Her narrative captures wonderfully a bright, 30 Dec. 2014
Eimear O'Callaghan has enriched all of us, her contemporaries, by having the
> generosity of spirit to share her remarkable teenage diary- to read
> it is to revisit the very spirit of the girls we were, separated by a matter of months and miles but struggling to adult
> independence through the same terrifying, exciting, grim and
> catalytic days. Her narrative captures wonderfully a bright,
> articulate, much-loved girl's struggle to normalise a world which,
> with the maturity of chilling hindsight, the fine journalist she
> became recognises was incalculably abnormal, claustrophobic,
> traumatic and yet which we all survived. I laughed and cried
> alongside teenage Eimear, lost in a sensory overload of memory of
> the romantic dreams, unspoken ambitions, masochistic self analysis
> and fervent prayers of my own narrow bedroom; of a world where
> school friends dare not visit; where to walk the street at night was
> to risk life itself; where life was suddenly very cheap and among
> the dead were numbered too many of our contemporaries. My adult self
> marvels at the quiet dignity and determination with which Irish
> mothers the country over supervised homework, encourage aspirations,
> sewed denim skirts, baked birthday cakes, stimulated and supported
> endless articulate political debate as the kettle boiled and
> achieved the domestic miracle of keeping together families at a time
> when everything else was being torn apart. A generation on, O'Callaghan says she
> celebrates her children's freedom to say their name out loud,
> without fear or prejudice; I rejoice that my daughter can do so and
> that her geography of this beautiful, troubled country that draws
> home her own, will be mapped in breath-taking landscapes, cultural
> and historical richness, in the memories of friends chosen for who
> they are not what they came from. It took my own daughter's insight to show me
> that my topography of the North is forever mapped in graveyards,
> bombed buildings, roadside explosions, its lonely border roads a
> bleak testament to lonely death. I have told her that to read Belfast Days
> will be to understand the women of our generation, articulated with
> more warmth, empathy and clarity of vision than any account I have
> read before, or could aspire to write. The teenage
> diarist portends the award winning and campaigning journalist O'Callaghan will become. It is a marvellous book,
> at times almost unbearably poignant, always self deprecating, never
> self pitying, delightfully mischievous. In writing it you have made
> an incalculable contribution to the social history of the Conflict
> and left a poignant legacy for our daughters and their daughters yet
> unborn. Thank you.


Hurt (DS Lucy Black Book 2)
Hurt (DS Lucy Black Book 2)
Price: £1.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rare combination from an increasingly confident talent, 24 Nov. 2013
This, the second Lucy Black novel, is that rare combination- a compulsive page-turner with a cleverly and carefully crafted plot, acutely observed dialogue, multi dimensional characters, with the increasingly confident and mature voice of this powerful and gifted writer elevating The Hurt from accessible popular fiction to literary quality. This, without losing its readability and unpretentiousness. I recommend a blazing fire, pot of coffee, phones switched off and an indulgent read. Ideal escapism for the post Christmas Day lull.

Lethal Allies: British Collusion in Ireland
Lethal Allies: British Collusion in Ireland
by Anne Cadwallader
Edition: Paperback

25 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compulsive and should be compulsory reading, 8 Nov. 2013
As someone who lived in South Armagh through this period and later worked in the media, I've been waiting for a book like this to have the courage and integrity to make public specific documentation confirming the collusion that we knew at the time was endemic, but could not substantiate. I have no doubt investigations by the same team into events in other areas and times of the Conflict would produce similar results. It is a difficult read, both in the enormity of the history it recounts and in the abundance of factual references that punctuate the narrative- but necessarily so. No society can move forward without establishing truth and working for justice. I am saddened that some people interpret this factual and remarkably unemotional work as 'opinion.' It should be included in any curriculum of the history of the Conflict.

Tochar: Walking Ireland's Ancient Pilgrim Paths
Tochar: Walking Ireland's Ancient Pilgrim Paths
by MacDonald Darach
Edition: Paperback
Price: £13.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A journey to the soul of Ireland, 20 Aug. 2013
Darach MacDonald's Tochar defies genre definition; it is in turn an absorbing travelogue rich in lyrical description, meticulous detail and acute observation; it is an uncompromisingly honest search for spirituality in an era when the grip of the established churches has been eroded by their fallibility; above all, to read it is to be a fellow traveller on the Tochar in the company of a warm, witty, wise, and self deprecating narrator. MacDonald somehow captures the elusive quality that is at the very heart and soul of Celtic Christianity, where Ireland's rich heritage, breath-taking scenery and ancient tradition co-exist and interweave with Christianity. A memorable, challenging and ultimately uplifting book.

An Ordinary Manic
An Ordinary Manic
Price: £5.56

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars dynamic new voice in Irish writing, 22 July 2013
This review is from: An Ordinary Manic (Kindle Edition)
'An Ordinary Manic' introduces to the world of literary fiction the lyrical prose, dry humour and insightful observation already known to fans of the powerful one man show by (Vin) Thomas McCullagh, 'Why Am I?' His debut publication is marked by the same rich insight and empathy with the bipolar condition; it is at once both painfully honest and uncompromising, and a tribute to the inherent and self-deprecating humour found even in the darkest times of life. More than that, it is a compelling, coming of age memoir that will resound with any young Irish man- and woman- who once set off to seek a better future on the streets of London, with the unquenchable optimism of youth in their heart and very little in their pockets. It captures with remarkable clarity a very specific moment in recent Irish history- the mood, the atmosphere, the social morality-not without questions posed by the wisdom of hindsight- but the author never loses an almost tangible sense of engagement with the Tyrone countryside that defined, and still defines him. A writer to watch and enjoy.

Kicking the Black Mamba - Life, Alcohol and Death
Kicking the Black Mamba - Life, Alcohol and Death
by Robert Welch
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Compassion and understanding, 12 Feb. 2013
A compassionate, painfully honest and acutely observed account of a son's life and death with alcohol, the powerful writing is devoid of the qualities I believe flaw many books on addiction- there is no glamourisation of the effects of alcohol abuse, no indulgence or dramatisation of their lifestyle, no attempt to shock, no false happy ending nor Damascan epiphany. I came away with a sense of enduring dignity where none might be expected, and warmed by the power of non judgmental parental love that questions, challenges, deplores, despairs but untimately tries to make sense of the loss of addiction. One for everyone who is -or has loved ones who are- addicts, in recovery or not.

Rain Spill
Rain Spill
by Jenni Doherty
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling showcase for a vibrant female voice, 8 Dec. 2012
This review is from: Rain Spill (Paperback)
Jenni Doherty's (long awaited) debut collection of poetry and prose bustles with the creative energy of a vibrant woman reaching the peak of her powers and is permeated with her empathy with her native Donegal. She gives us the county's rugged coastal landscape and lifestyle in all its seasons as a pathetic fallacy for her own moods and emotions, loves and losses, reflections and philosophy. At times majestic, intimate, poignant and witty, the collection houses marvellous one liners and intricately clever word play. It's a collection to dip into, and return to, again and again. Honest, brave, perceptive, self-deprecating, warm, the writer's personality shines through her words as a voice for twenty first century women everywhere. More, please....

No Dope Here? Anti-drugs Vigilantism in Northern Ireland
No Dope Here? Anti-drugs Vigilantism in Northern Ireland
by John Lindsay
Edition: Paperback

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling, 6 Dec. 2012
This is a compelling account of the drugs industry and vigilante/paramilitary activity in Northern Ireland, written with an intelligent and, as far as is possible, non-judgmental voice. It is investigatiove journalist at its best-uncompromising but never sensational,the result of a vast amount of meticulous research and exclusive interviews, and is edited with impeccable referencing. It's also a remarkably easy read, engrossing and human. The author is to be respected for his personal courage and integrity in making an invaluable contribution to our social history and providing a catalyst for informed debate on everything from community policing to drugs legislation. Some may flinch at what it uncovers- I'd argue that it should be read by youth, social, and community workers, educators and policy makers alike.

The Trouble with McCauley
The Trouble with McCauley
by Charlie Herron
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Charming ,engaging read, 18 Aug. 2012
Charlie Herron's sequel to the much acclaimed 'McCauley's War' continues the story of the exploits of our young protagonist in a Derry that lives on vividly in the author's memory and is revisited with wry humour, honesty and warmth. Engaging from the opening pages, it's written with flair, great empathy and charm, and is definitely one to rekindle memories, and inspire the imaginations of those too young to remember.

The Dangerous Edge of Things
The Dangerous Edge of Things
Price: £4.57

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vibrant new voice in Irish writing, 18 Aug. 2012
This debut collection by one of Ireland's freshest new voices in fiction is a testament to the quality and depth of the young author's work. Freya McClements has a unique and very personal style that successfully combines literary depth with empathy and accessibility. Her short stories engage the reader from the outset and are meticulously crafted, rich in detail, acute observation, and linger in the mind and heart long after the reader has read them- and read them again.
McClements combines a journalist's discipline with an artist's imagination to craft some of the finest short stories to be published this decade. Recommended- and a writer to watch.

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